Because I am full to the very brim of vim and vigour and well up for heading out to Korea, I’ve decided to start with learning Korean. It also makes me feel productive while I wait for my criminal record and degree transcripts to be sent over, and while I wait to hear back from the interview I did last week. Because currently I am an unemployed leech who manages to watch both Countdown and Deal or No Deal every afternoon. The Halloween version of the latter was pretty cracked out, by the way, and essentially an illustration of what Noel Edmunds will do in the desperate hopes of staying relevent and/or employed. Still, we are in recession, who can blame him?

Muir Woods. As ever, unrelated.

I found this site, http://www.talktomeinkorean.com, and it is possibly the best thing ever. The lessons are short and easy to grasp, I love it. As well as the recorded portion of the lesson, there are also PDFs available that basically summarise what’s being said so that you can follow along and get more used to seeing the hangul characters. The teachers are also very clear speaking and repetitive, which really helps. Now I can say the words in the first two lessons – hello, thank you, yes, no – and as such am that much better off than before. All this and it’s free! If I was in the business of awarding grades to websites (which I’m not, partially because I don’t think that exists as a business), it would get an A+.

Hopefully repeating it helps too. I’ve always found with languages that it’s the using it that counts. You can learn something by heart one day, but if you never use it again, it’s gone. Whereas I could never forget simultaneous equations. I think we can all agree that aimultaneous equations were the funnest part of algebra, which was itself the funnest part of maths.

On the flip side, I could stare at the periodic table for three weeks straight and still not know anything except what H2O stands for, and partially I only know that because of the band, H2O*. Chemistry was the bane of my teenage existence. Ironicly, I often think about it now because it just epitomises complete lack of understanding for me. Like when I’m talking to someone with massively faulty logic like “my ex and I had a fight, we haven’t spent enough time together recently”. I understand those words, but when you put them all together like that, I’m back staring at the periodic table, I’m lost. Especially when I know the person I’m speaking to is an otherwise very intelligent and all round great person, who might as well have just asked me what FE+ is.

So, in summation, I’ve started learning Korean thanks to a great website, and I still have no idea what the hell atoms and molecules are or do. Actually that might be physics. Is that physics? I wasn’t very good at that either.


*Who could forget the plaintive wail of “H2Oooooh” at 17seconds? Clearly not me. They’re from Leicester, where I used to live, and apparently walked into a local bar and sang that in the hopes of getting a free drink. As a problem drinker and spendthrift, I respect that.